Why worsening power problems will linger- experts
GLADYS JOHNSON – Houston, Texas
The current power problem in the country Nigeria will linger on for longer period as result of security issues, technical problems, and water and gas challenges facing the power sector.
The current power generations fluctuates between 2,500mw to 2,700mw even though the country has capacity to generate over 5000mw.
The operators also express their frustrations by the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) which most times asked the distributing companies to drop their supply loads (electricity supply) from the generating companies because weak transmission system.
According to power and industry operators who spoke to Global Business Drive Magazine on the sideline at the ongoing Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) holding in Houston, Texas, United States of America the current power problems has about four dimensions which have resulted in putting the country in a very precarious situation as far as power supply is concerned.
A combination of issues ranging from lack of security occasioned by the general election, gas pipeline vandalization and technical problems resulting in the inability of the power plant to evacuate gas combined to plunge the country into total darkness being experienced currently.
They said in the last two months the warri – Escravos- Lagos pipeline has been down because of vandalisasion and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) could not fix it because of the recently concluded elections in the country.
The sources told Global Business Drive that the NNPC contractors are suppose to fix the pipelines could not get the services of the Joint Task Force (JTF) that could have provided security cover for them until about a few days ago because they were deplored for election purposes.
Corroborating the statement of the operators, David Ige, group executive director Gas and Power NNPC, confirmed the damage to the Warri – Escravos pipeline which has resulted in the loss of 150million standard cubic feet of gas per day in the last two months.
In addition to this, he said, the Trans-Forcado pipeline was attacked about three weeks ago and when attempts were made to repair and bring it on stream it was discovered there was a leakage which has just been fixed.
“At the moment the there is a gas loss of about 150 million standard cubic feet of gas per day. This has been the situation in last 8 weeks. In addition to this, Trans-forcado pipeline was attacked about three weeks ago but it was repaired but while attempting to bring it on stream it was discovered there was a leakage and this slowed down the repair efforts. It had just been fixed”, he said.
David Ige who represented the Group Managing Director of the NNPC , Dahwa at the conference lamented that it took the corporation weeks to start the repairs works on the damaged pipelines due to election because the JTF could not provide security cover for NNPC contractors to access the damaged pipeline. “So it was only after the election that people started working on the pipeline and work is ongoing now”.
He explained that with Tran – Forcado pipelines out we are losing gas from Oben, Sapele and from Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) which is a significant chunk,
“So right now we are losing gas from Escravos, and from Oben axis this a significant amount of the gas supply that is down on the western side”.
On the technical challenges mentioned by other operators he confirmed that the problems of gas supply in eastern axis of the Niger Delta have been issues largely related to evacuation. He explained that even though gas was supplied to Okpai Power plant, power evacuation challenges does not make possible for the gas to get to the plant and the plant is not able to operate to full capacity.
“Gas has been supplied to Ibom Power but it has been operating at about 50 per cent of her capacity. Alaoji is not able to evacuate power due a combination of issues”.
On the western side of the Niger Delta where the power plants are ready, however there is shortage of gas. There is a shortage of about 400million standard cubic feet per day. It is expected that by the end of this year this shortage would have been reduced significantly as some of the gas projects would have come on stream.
The NNPC boss also said the Lagos –Escravos Pipeline under construction would be completed, within the next three months. “Lagos – Oben has completed and commissioned, so also Emure to Itokin in Lagos, what is left now is the Benin to Emure and this is progressing very well, the expectation is that before August this year ELPS pipeline would have been completed and capacity doubled to two billion standard cubic feet of gas per day (scfd), and this is going to be the biggest pipeline in Africa”, he said.
Mike Uzoigwe, Managing Director of Egbin Power Plc said that there is no gas and consequently the gas stations cannot supply gas to the power stations. Asked if it was issue of vandalisation, he said : “ The primary information that I have is that there is no gas and because of this we cannot operate efficiently”.
They current level of generation by some of the power plants are Kainji 202 megawatts (mw) Jebba 168mw Shiroro -0mw, Egbin 325mw, Sapele-0, Delta 250mw, Afam1-5 -0mw,Geregu 83mw, Omotosho110.4mw, Olorunsogo (Gas)135mw.
The performance of those plants under the National Integrated Power plant (NIPP) are as follows Geregu 94mw, Sapele 112mw,A laoji 119mw, Olorunsogo 162mw, Omotosho 94mw, Odukpani 162mw, Ihovbor 113mw, Afam vi 295mw, ibom power 72.5mw, AES -Nil, Trans Amadi Nil, Rivers Nil
He said that currently Egbin Power plc is generating 300 megawatts instead of 1,300megawatts. ““With this type of situation how can we pay salaries and meet our cost. The situation is just too bad.”
The hydro power plants are also down because of lack of water.